A RIVEN LIFE.BY STEVEN BENSON.

He didn’t quite know how to manage this. In a fog of anxiety, he went, every Tuesday to the slightly decaying “Beautiful View” hotel, entering by the back door, in order not to be seen. Most of his friends were straight and he had felt very uneasy about coming out to them,as they could be dismissive(at best) of gay people; in Aberystwyth, in 1981, it wasn’t exactly talked about openly.

This bleak, angst-ridden SPLIT life, he felt he inhabited: some kind of liminal world between his get-out clause of the academic asexual being, befriended by the straight world; and this furtive one of the once a week, unadvertised gay night at the hotel. He actually lived with an outrageous quean,G,who regaled him with stories of his latest beau and/or conquest; living in a two room flat, G and his amours had to have sex in the kitchen! Finding a time to cook was quite fraught! Simultaneously, he made friends with a man a year younger,who was winsome and attractive, but also a bit petulant; and whose sexual orientation was, to say the least, unclear(though there HAD been that incident, on the wayback from the Railway and Transport Society{RATS} trip to the Metropolitan Cammell works in Birmingham, where, somewhere between Shrewsbury and “Aber”-as the students lovingly called this magical place-, M touched his foot with his own foot, his ability to read the signal as accidental or positive being wholly beyond him). Complicatedly, M was a friend of his straight friends; but night after night, they tacitly got on the same bus to the campus “up the hill” to study in the library, though studying was the last thing he could do, with his love-stricken yearning for M.


Once, he attended “The Beautiful View” Tuesday gay bar and was “approached”(for sex) by an older man he did not, at all, find attractive, and whose unwelcome attentions he was completely unaware of how to deal with, other than running outside and confiding in his flatmate, who began to exhibit less and tolerance for his tentative, back-and-forth steps at attempting to accept that he was, indeed, gay. It was only the friendship of J that kept him going, really. J was on  his uni course, and was supportive,a gay man himself, recommending the (then very pauce) selection of even vaguely gay- affirmative fiction books, by the likes of Forster, and Vidal, and Renault; these helped, but it remained, primarily, a sublimated, academicised acceptance (to an extent) of his sexual orientation. He had always been like that: academic: sometimes “academic” in a subtly pejorative way, to indicate “not quite of the real world”, though, in a university town, it DID engender a (niche!) acceptance. However too much stress on academia and no love/sexual fulfilment had lead to his first panic attack,a massive one, in June 1981. So, he could INCLUDE academic re-direction in his selfconcept but there had to be more: (homo) sex and love and passion.

______________________________________________

 

In later years,he went back to Aber a few times, even re-visiting his first “digs”(mainly unchanged); and, unexpectedly, not with panic/anxiety but a sense of return,home; “Aber” remained his homeland. Now, he was a whole person(35 years) later having a strong gay/lgbt/queer identity but integrating it in his own, overall, sense of personhood. He seemed to carry that back to his OLD, split self in Aber, when he re-visited; and, thus, he healed himself.:)

 

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in "Pride", a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay literature, life mirrors art, other, queer, Re-envisionning, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, wordcount, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A RIVEN LIFE.BY STEVEN BENSON.

  1. decayetude says:

    Thx, Gill; a personal foray!

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